Celtics vs Pacers is officially the first playoffs matchup and it’s closer to call than you think.
At first sight, without Victor Oladipo Indiana is no match for Boston and a lot of people are quick to write them off. But in my opinion it’s definitely not that simple.
The Celtics could face some difficulties, and I’ll explain why. What up everybody, my name is Stefan and this is Heat Check. Let’s get into it.
Taking a closer look at the stats from this season, you’ll soon realise that these teams are very close.
Starting off with the simple things like assists per game. Almost identical numbers, as the two teams rank pretty high at number 5 and number 8 when it comes to finding the open guy.
Same thing when it comes to rebounds. The only difference is that both teams are at the bottom in this category.
They are the 3rd and 6th best defensive teams when it comes to points allowed.
And they still like to shoot some midrange shots, despite the rest of the league shifting the focus towards threes and layups.
Indiana is leading the league in points off of the roll man in the pick and roll, but Boston is right there as well at number 5 on this list. Which is no surprise since Kyrie regularly finds Al Horford in this 2 man action, and with the Pacers, guys like Sabonis and Turner are the beneficiaries from the pass.
Also, the production from the bench players is again almost exactly the same at 39 points per game.
Right off the bat, when you see all of these things, it’s apparent that the 2 teams are extremely similar. As their records suggest. And you ask yourself, how is that possible when Boston has all these big names like Kyrie and Hayward, along with possible future all stars like Tatum and Brown, meanwhile you wouldn’t even recognize 4 of the starting 5 for the Pacers even if they came into your living room.
The answer lies in everything that you can’t see. Check out this comparison:
To me the Pacers are what the Celtics were last year. A team with their star player injured, who now play together, play hard and freely, while enjoying this process of overachievement.
Meanwhile the things in Boston are pretty much a mess behind the curtains.
For all the players to keep coming out and publicly saying that the atmosphere is awful, that’s extremely bad.
And I’m pointing this out because all it takes for things to start falling apart in Boston is just 1 Indiana win on the road.
We saw how guys, mainly Kyrie has been acting up during regular season losses. And to drop a game at home in the playoffs where every game means so much, that could get very ugly and carry over to the other games, as it has been throughout the multiple 3 game and 4 game losing streaks when the team looked like they don’t know each other.
Shoutout to the Pacers for their extraordinary season, but we all know that it’s up to the Celtics to not beat themselves, and possibly flip the switch and lock in for the playoffs. It would need to be a dramatic shift in demeanor tho, because playing like this, finals, or even conference finals is not even in play. They could have trouble just getting out of this first round.
At the moment the best case scenario that I am willing to predict for them is Boston in 6.
But it could definitely get much more interesting than that. Stay tuned.
That’s it for now, if you liked this video, subscribe and hit the notification bell so that you don’t miss my future in depth analysis. Talk to you in the next one. Peace out.